Engaging with our communities
Through our practice, we have found ourselves at the heart of several intersecting communities.
Our involvement in Gando is born from the wish of our founder, Francis Kéré, to give back to the people who raised and nurtured him. The community of Gando is therefore first and foremost at the centre of our work. Each of our projects is planned and executed in close collaboration with Gando’s population, designed to suit their needs and resources.
Based in Berlin where Francis Kéré completed his architectural studies, we have gathered a dedicated community of supporters and donors who have invested in our work from the very beginning. Several of our members have journeyed alongside us since the design of the Gando Primary School.
Over time, our projects have captured the attention of the architectural community, who are interested in learning from our sustainable building practice and participatory approach. This has led to Francis Kéré taking up several teaching engagements, through which he has brought members of the academic community to Gando.
“Architecture is a process, a collective endeavour.”
One of the fundamental aspects of our work is the construction process that leads to the realisation of each of our projects. Building work is carried out by the inhabitants of Gando and its surrounding region, providing them with local, fairly paid job opportunities.
Members of the community contribute their own skills to the building site and receive hands-on training where specific knowledge is required – namely the manufacture of compressed earth bricks and their use in the construction of vault structures, preparation of formwork for concrete casting, as well as welding roof trusses, doors and windows.
Over time, a highly skilled team has emerged from this process and has formed the cooperative Association Dolai, which is active on construction sites in Gando and beyond. In particular their ability in the craft of welding, acquired from the construction of our iconic roof designs, is esteemed and sought-after all over the region. This not only benefits Gando’s economy but also helps to improve the quality of the built environment as a whole, as sustainable construction methods learned on-site can then be applied to other projects.